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Justice process must not be seen as vindictive: Perspective Begum Zia`s trial

By Editorial Desk
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We do not say that the politicians must remain above law and yet the question is whether they can be vindictive to each other. That is why the judiciary has to maintain its detachment from politics specially when dealing cases of political opponents.

Vindictiveness in politics is not desirable but we cannot say that our politics of two ladies is devoid of personal bitterness and sullied by intolerance. That is the reality we are living with and our policy has been to advise all concerned that politics should be all about public good and broad mindedness.

We are bold about the need of dignity and decency in politics because personal vindictiveness is dangerous not only for peace and stability in the country but also for politics of vengeance.

Because we want peace and dignity in politics and that is why we feel disturbed about public perception of cruelty and humiliation shown against the former Prime Minister of three times before her guilt is finally and fairly established through appeals available under the judicial process. Just because she is not only a former Prime Minister but also the leader of the largest opposition fighting for free and fair election so any element of personal political rivalry must also not be seen affecting justice process.

The justice system must protect its own politically unbiased position. The punishment of five years and not getting bail is a puzzle in the sphere of the justice process. The High Court Division while granting bail in that case also observed that to grant bail in such a situation was normal.

Trial proceedings against BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia in connection with Zia Charitable Trust corruption case will be held from now at old Dhaka central jail at Nazimuddin Road where she is serving sentence in another graft case. Previously, her trial proceedings were held at a makeshift court in Bakshibazar area in the old city.

Report said since her conviction in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8, she has not been produced before Bakshibazar makeshift court or at any other courts outside Dhaka where she was repeatedly summoned to appear.

 We do not say that trial place cannot be shifted to jail. But the question is first about the nature of the case. The trust is in the name of her husband. It is also not sure how public money is involved. The next question is the case is not so dangerous that her health conditions and her old age and also the fact she was the Prime Minister three times should deserve no consideration. The one case in which she has been found guilty of corruption is also a trust in the name of her husband.

In that case while granting her bail the High Court Division observed that for a sentence of five years she deserved to be released on bail. But seriously objected by the government the bail matter is pending before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. This fact of strong opposition by the government to granting her bail, it will appear highly suspicious of political influence as because she is the leader of the largest political party engaged in fighting for free and fair election. So the government should be cautious about political side of the cases brought against her.

Trial can go on even if she is released on bail for her treatment at her own cost. Nobody will believe that she will jump bail and leave the country.

She has reportedly told the court on Wednesday that given her fragile health and left in total solitary confinement from seeing lawyers and relatives she will not be able to attend the court any more - no matter how much punishment the court will give her.

About her political decision with regard to cases against her we have nothing to say. Our anxiety is about politics that it should be free from revenge and cruelty. Nobody should be advised to think that any government shall remain in power permanently. So it is well-advised that change of government is unpredictable. No government should treat court cases to be seen as influenced by party politics of rivalry.

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